Mans frightening encounter with well built wolf he thought was a boar

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Vladimir Putin appeared to be grief-struck and welling up as he paid his respects to a close friend who died trying to save another man's life.

Yevgeny Zinichev, 55, Russia's late Emergency Minister, was killed when trying to rescue filmmaker Alexander Melnik, 63, who had fallen into icy water during Arctic military exercises near the city of Norilsk.

Both men died in the incident.

In footage of Zinichev's open-casket funeral, which happened on September 10 2021, Putin appeared to be overwhelmed with grief.

Fighting back emotion, he solemnly added a bunch of red roses to a pile of bouquets and laid his head against Zinichev's casket.

The Russian despot, who launched a devastating invasion on Ukraine on February 28, then made the sign of the cross and touched Zinichev's body in a gentle, farewell gesture.

Taking his place next to the minister's widow Natalya and son Denis, Putin looked devastated as he shook both their hands.

Like Putin, Zinichev was once a KGB man and some believed the Russian president was grooming him to eventually become Putin's successor, reports the Daily Mail.

Speaking about Putin and Zinichev's friendship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "They shared many years of joint work and it's a huge loss'"

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Zinichev had a stellar career under Putin and the Daily Mail also reports that he had been chosen for a new powerful role on the Kremlin's security council.

As well as being ex-KGB, Zinichev was a member of the presidential bodyguard between 2006 and 2015, reports Sky News.

Before taking on the role of emergencies minister in 2018, he was the deputy director of Russia's domestic intelligence service, the FSB.

Putin paid tribute to his colleague in a condolence message to his wife Natalya and son Denis.

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In his message, Putin wrote: "I am stunned by the tragic news about the death of Yevgeny Nicholayevich Zinichev.

"I ask you to accept my sincere condolences and words of support at this sorrowful hour. We have lost a true combat officer, a comrade, a man of incredible inner strength, courage and bravery.

"For me this is an irreplaceable personal loss."

Putin wrote about his years working with Zinichev and described his colleague as "a reliable, loyal friend, and a professional of the highest rank" and knew that he could rely on him "even the most complicated situation".

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Putin added: "He dedicated himself to service to the Motherland, to the people. And while rescuing a life, he took risk without a second of doubt, and died while fulfilling his duty.

"We will keep a bright memory of Yevgeny Nikolayevich Zinichev in our hearts."

Sky News also reports Zinichev was in the Arctic overseeing large-scale drills and had visited the construction site of a new fire station in Norilsk, as well as a search and rescue team in the area.

Official accounts have not confirmed the exact location of Zinchev's death, but it is believed the incident took place near the Kitabo-Oron waterfall at Putorana Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Arctic.

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A man out walking his dog at night in Gloucestershire said he instantly froze when he heard a noise and looked up to see a wolf close by.

Chris Howard, from Yorkley in the Forest of Dean, was walking along a path near woodland when he heard a stick snap in the darkness. He stopped in his tracks and shone his torch in the direction of the noise and spotted a wolf he estimated to be just 15 metres away.

He told Gloucestershire Live that he feels privileged at seeing the wolf, despite being frightened.

Mr Howard said: "I take my terrier out every night so we do not come across other people and their dogs. So last Sunday after dinner at 8.30pm I took him for his walk.

“I was walking up the path and was just concerned if we were to come across wild boar but I have not seen any in the area for a while now.

"We were near a residential area about 100 yards away from the houses walking along the ash path which runs along the wooded area. I heard a crack in the woods thinking it may be a boar. I shone my torch and I saw a wolf with it’s nose down to the ground and then it looked at me.

"What I saw was one million per cent a wolf. It had a long snout, big head and was well built from it’s neck to it’s rear end.

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“It was not malnourished put it that way, it looked very healthy. Its hair around it’s neck was long and the eyes were white. After it looked at me, it put his nose to the floor and walked off in proud way with a spring in it’s step.

“When it had turned I saw it’s tail which was shorter than I had expected but curled and bushy. I love Huskies and I know for certain it was not one of those – it was a wolf."

Staggered by what he had seen, he called his dog back to put it back on a lead.

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Normally, Mr Howard's dog has to be called a couple of times, however this time he came back "without hesitation".

He said: "I don’t know if the wolf or the dog had caught wind of each other or not. The dog coming back straight away was really unusual.

"I am not ashamed to say when I walked home I stepped backwards every pace till I got there. The wolf was big, bigger than a Alsatian and was between knee and hip height and as I say, well built."

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Mr Howard has said he wants to see the animal again. He said: "The experience was frightening yet amazing. The creature was a sight for sore eyes and a real beauty."

He also believes the wolf did not see him or his dog as a threat. He said: "I think the wolf sussed we were not a threat but I was worried for my dog. I never thought I would ever experience this lone wolf. I love wildlife and it was such a privilege to see."

Mr Howard contacted wildlife expert Frank Tunbridge, 74, from Podsmead. He was blown away by the level of detail Mr Howard went into about the sighting.

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He also said while many people assume sightings like these are just big dogs, the behaviour and description of the animal fits a wolf.

Mr Tunbridge said: “Predators are usually so secretive in their habits that they are seldom seen most of the year, but during their mating season of wolves from January to March, they cover very large areas looking for partners.

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“They throw caution to the wind and are seen more often at that time. So this could explain the latest report of this wolf spotted close to human habitation in the Forest of Dean.

“The Forest of Dean encompasses a massive forested area with some parts remote and dense. I am sure a rhino could live there and go unnoticed for quite a while, let alone a wolf or two."

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